Monday, March 31, 2008

American Political Division... - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
I may have stepped back but my passion endures.

A while ago I purposefully distanced myself from political conversation. On the rare occasion I will still express an opinion or belief.

I do, however, no longer tolerate or allow my personal love for God or country to be used for divisive political purposes. I find both to be offensive and repulsive. Political parties do not now nor have they ever held exclusive rights to either. Walk a Veteran's Cemetery sometime, how many headstones denote Republican or Democrat? Do you doubt that each have died for our country? Are we to seriously believe that the commonality between parties no longer exists and only one believes in God?

Do I hold political views? Make no doubt about it, Yes... Do I care to debate them with others? I welcome the opportunity but under conditions that bring purpose and understanding for the both of us.

I discuss politics when and only when we both present the best (in our opinion) legislation introduced by any and all administrations, including foreign policy decisions upfront. We do this before our discussion begins. Void of that ability or desire, I will refrain from our "discussion" as it quickly deteriorates into hate radio sound bites. I choose to think on my own. Flawed as that may be.

If either of us are unable to clearly express two or three highlights of previous and present administrations, then we have only shown ourselves incapable of honestly and convincingly discussing politics void of party agenda... I challenge you to think about that. Do you? Can you? If not, then with all due respect, let it go... Party and religious shrills make for poor conversation and too often display an alarming lack of knowledge and truth. Do not be offended as I intend no offense. It is what it is. I have my own struggles. Like you, I have my own opinions...

Should any of what I have just shared rub you the wrong way, well, that again offers light as to why I most often, humbly decline to join in political debate. I may have stepped back but my passion endures but argument for the sake of argument's sake or for the sake of a Political Party is a song I no longer care to dance to.


Good News about a Mugging???

personalized greetings

Don't you sometimes want to hear about GOOD news?

The evening news occasionally tries to highlight some good stuff going on in our global world, so when I found this story, I thought WOW! What an amazing man! It is on NPR so I will assume it is the truth.

I found the story on Everyday Giving blog while I was surfing through the "Best Charity Blogs" (yes, please vote for Seventh Diamond while you are there).

Read how this guy was mugged.......

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Love Champagne Sundays!

Our idea of a great Sunday afternoon is enjoying a sip of champagne overlooking the St. Johns River (or any body of water we may be in or by).
Some of the Champagnes we buy come in a gift giving "tin".
A Green idea - Any ideas for reusing/recycling these?
These are freebie containers that some wines and champagnes come in; especially around the holidays, these fancy containers are more plentiful.

Is there anything these may be recycled into? All I could think of is a very tall slender, narrow vase for flowers.
Maybe some spray paint? Crafty ideas?
What would you use this container for? They come with a secure lid.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Why Some Teach

There are those among us who have the heart to teach others. This is one small but moving reflection on why we should be Thankful for that. And a glimpse into why I love this fantastic family of ours...

Yo Muthers Blog

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


This is from our favorite Bible Study group & organization: Please read if you are considering adoption.

James 1:27, NIV "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world"

James 27, KJV "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

Adoption offers a chance at a new beginning for many children cared for by state and private agencies and international orphan situations. Families constitute the building blocks of God's Kingdom. A strong family unit provides an orphan with the love and security that is needed to ensure that they grow into healthy adults and a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Adoption is part of the Great Commission, and we see that God's heart of compassion for the fatherless is clearly expressed throughout Scripture. We see adoption by believers as "missions in reverse" because adoption provides an opportunity to reach across the globe and bring children into homes where Jesus is present and God's Word is central.

“Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan…”

Psalm 82:3-4 “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”

Psalm 10:14, 17-18 “But you do see the trouble and grief they cause. You take note of it and punish them. The helpless put their trust in you. You are the defender of orphans LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them.”

If you can help the needy children of the world, here's a place to start: The Cry of the Orphan.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Catch & Release St Johns River Style

Alyson's cousin Carolyn has her parents down visiting and I was able to slip out with Will, Carolyn's dad, for a little largemouth bass fishing. It was a typical wrap and peel day as the temperature started out brisk but before you knew it, Will had his shirt off capturing some of North Florida's golden rays on that long and lanky Maine body of his :)

The rays of the sun wasn't the only thing we caught! We each hooked up with 4 nice bass to go along with at least that many more that we both failed to get to the boat. We snapped a picture of a couple and like true bass sportsmen, we released all of them back to the tannin stained waters of the St Johns River.

It was a beautiful and fun day on the water with Will. We'll have to do it again sometime!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

This is as good as it gets!!

Happy Easter!!

We had a wonderful time with family today at the Outback Crab Shack (we did miss several members (Angie, Charles, Ian, Carolyn, Cara, my Mom).

Pictured is the aftermath of the food mess with most of it having been picked up - several plates of snow crab shells, shrimp tails and tons of paper towels to be thrown away. The picture could not have been any better!

We love you all!

Three Word Sunday - Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!
We will attend church and then dinner with our Florida families, the Cruce's, Hollaway's and Morgan's at a very untraditional restaurant. Our visiting cousins' in St. Augustine have headed back to their northern states and the Redmond's are on their way to Disney/Epcot for the day.

Happy Easter to our Maine & Missouri families, especially my Mom who has been with us for many past Easter's but did not come to Florida this winter. Happy Easter Mom! We miss all of you!!

May your faith grow today and much Love and Blessings surround you and your families.

"A man can receive only what is given him from heaven" (John 3:27).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Contest Winner Here!

I loved the recent Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom. I love the web site with all the information, fun and links supporting SAHM's and WAHM's which I could only wish to be.

I actually won a prize during the last party, #133 donated by the Pearl Girls. It is a Christian book for Mother's. I can't wait to read it. My family has given me some great books in anticipation of "us" becoming parents again. Even though I am "Mom #2" to two great, loving, PERFECT step-kids, this adoption will be a little different (I'm told ALOT different)! Our grown kids have experience with baby-hood parenting so they know better than I what I am getting myself into (sounds a little backwards doesn't it?).

Pearl Girls button

The contest is organized by Happy Panda, they have a shop with Made in USA baby clothes particularly for larger sized babies. Really cool, please visit them.

There are so many web sites worth visiting. Here's one called Becoming His by Joanna Weaver. Scroll down on her home page to read her list of things to toss out to "Stop the Chaos"!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Continuing Quest For Grandma's Rolls

I first used the word Buns instead of Rolls in the title. For reasons I'm sure are somehow linked to a warped childhood, I just could not bring myself to make a reference to my Grandmother's buns...

For a while now I have been on the quest to replicate my Grandma Murphy's huge, fluffy, yeasty rolls. If only she was still with us... As best I can tell, no one in the family ever copied down her recipe. Provided she even had a recipe. Thinking back, I never remember Grandma Murphy having a visible recipe of any kind when preparing a dinner. Then again, I don't recall myself being all that attentive to such details. Still, I persevere, driven by memories of a farm kitchen engulfed in yeasty ecstasy of huge golden mounds of tasty delights spilling out across the table.

Here's where I'm at in the recipe quest so far. These rolls are not "The" rolls but I am getting closer. I'm serving these tonight at DD's house to go with a Beef Stew I'm preparing in a slow cooker or crock pot as some prefer.

Disclaimer: You may notice I didn't do too well in the equally sized dough ball department. Let's just say I was concentrating on "taste" not presentation which may also explain that missing roll...

Light Oat Bread


· 1 1/4 cups hot tap water

· 2 tablespoons melted butter

· 1 tablespoon honey

· 1 teaspoon salt

· 1/2 cup sour cream

· 3 cups bread flour

· 1/2 cup quick oats

· 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

· 1 packet rapid rise yeast


1. Put all ingredients in order in the bread machine

2. Select dough setting.

3. Shape into a regular bread loaf pan.

4. Let sit covered for half an hour.

5. Baked in a preheated oven at 345 for 30 minutes


  • Use middle oven rack, the bread really rises while baking
  • To Make Rolls:
Form into 12 equal size dough balls. Arrange dough balls touching in a 9x13 lightly greased baking pan. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until light golden brown. You can also use a muffin tin…

Slow Cooker Beef Stew


· 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes

· 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

· 1 teaspoon salt

· 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

· 2 cloves garlic, minced

· 2 bay leaf

· 2 teaspoons paprika

· 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

· 2 onion, chopped

· 3 cups beef broth

· 5 potatoes, cubed

· 6 carrots, chopped

· 3 stalks celery, chopped

· 2 ears fresh corn, shaved or 1 can whole corn, drained


1. Place meat in slow cooker.

2. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture.

3. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.

4. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Serves 10-12

Serve with oven baked homemade Light Oat Bread or Rolls

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Reading Writing Living

If you have followed our blog you will have occasionally come across a link to Susan over at Reading Writing Living. Susan's writing captured my attention and admiration some time ago. Her unique perspective on adoption is both enlightening and intensely personal. I asked Susan if I could link to one of her recent posts and she has graciously agreed.

I would not rush through Susan's writings. If your time is limited, I would suggest a morning or evening when the "rush" of life grants you a moment of peace allowing you what I know will be a truly pleasurable journey of one writing from the heart...

The Lost Story by Susan Ito

—Susan Ito is the co-editor of A Ghost At Heart's Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption. She is a Creative Nonfiction Editor at LiteraryMama, where she writes a monthly column about intergenerational living called "Life in the Sandwich." Her blog is ReadingWritingLiving and she is currently recommending The English American by Alison Larkin, which she describes as "a funny/sad/wise brand-spanking-new novel about a British adoptee on a journey to find her roots in Kentucky."


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Maine Winter - 2008

My Mom sent this to me.... Winter is being very persistent this year!!!

This is by a seventy-four-year-old lady who lives in Acton, Maine.

Why I Love Maine...

It's winter in the state of Maine
And the gentle breezes blow,
Seventy miles an hour,
At fifty-two below.
Oh, how I love the state of Maine
When the snow's up to your butt.
You take a breath of winter air
And your nose, it freezes shut.
Yes, the weather here is wonderful,
So I guess I'll hang around.
I could never leave the state of Maine...
'Cause I'm frozen to the ground!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

3 Word Sunday - Secret Swaps

Please read about our Secret swaps in the two posts below!!

Secret Buddy Swap - January 2006 DTC

Both my Secret Pal & Secret Buddy packages arrived and you just can't believe all the thoughtful gifts Alyzabeth received! These ladies carefully shop for items particular to my future daughter and lovingly pack everything so neat and pretty. I am so glad I joined. I missed out on several swaps early on in our adoption journey. If like me you've been "slow" to join in on something like this, let me say, DO IT. It warms the heart and makes your DREAM all the more real.

Thank you Secret Pal & Buddy! I can hardly wait to know who you guys are and THANK YOU properly. Pictured in this post are the gifts from my Secret Buddy. A second post highlights my Secret Pal gifts.

Check this out: A lady bug tea set, just perfect!! I cannot wait to play tea with Lizzy!

The ladybug book page holders will be very handy as we intend to read books every day with her.

The book is precious with flashing lights and a message about God's love. There is a "window" to place your baby's picture so I substituted with a message for Lizzy's photo some day soon! Perfect again!!

And the baby girl card was thoughtful! Love our generous secret buddies!

Secret Pal Swap - Seventh Diamond - March

My Secret Pal sends such wonderful gifts for Alyzabeth An. Always a thoughtful note too. I really appreciate that she mentions our daughter and follows our blog.

Aren't these so cute? The pink and brown hair bows are adorable along with an "Easter" yellow rubber ducky!!

The magnetic farm animal set and an Easter book completed this package of goodies!! Perfect again!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Burrito Gallery Family Fun

Had to run this morning and didn't have time to give any details about the picture show. Our SIL Jesse pulled a gig without the band yesterday downtown at The Burrito Gallery. We hooked up with DD Leaa and GD Livi along with Leaa's sister Nicole and had a great time. Livi was rockin' to Dad, as we all did, and the food was simple and so good!

I busted these picture out quick just for DD and her MIL...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lemoncello - Better Late Than Never....

Remember this post?

I finally got around to doing what should have been done a couple of months ago. I picked the last of the lemons from our tree and got started this morning making the homemade Lemoncello Liqueur.

After bringing in the lemons I gave them a good hot bath. No soap. Just a good brushing and toweled dry...

It was then time for the vegetable peeler. This actually worked very well. I had virtually none of the white pith that would give off a bitter flavor to the Liqueur.

So, with our peelings now in the gallon jar, next came the first of what will eventually be two 750 ml bottles of 100 proof vodka. Aly noticed we didn't break the bank with an upscale brand. I may live to regret that decision. I should have thought of it as buying a nice wine but then I reasoned I wouldn't buy a good wine only to make sangria out of it. Can you tell I'm feeling guilty about the cheap vodka? Next time... The good stuff.

With the jar sealed and dated it's time to go hide in its own little dark corner. I'll see you all back here in 40 days when we'll move to the second stage of production, adding the sugar and the second bottle of vodka. And then we'll do what we have come to do so well. We'll wait some more.....


Thursday, March 13, 2008

China Bound - Forever Day - Forever Families

Want to pass along links to a couple of soon to be Forever Families who are making their way to China. If you're anything like us, it's always a rush to follow along with those you have come to "know" by following their blogs for so long.

Enjoy. We're sure both families will enjoy your company and comments...

Adoption & Fire

Waiting For Zoe

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Office Organization Story

Remember this mess in my old office?

My organizing session with a PRO at my work office was great fun. We completed most of the organizing but I do have a few "homework" items to do. I posted about the pending meeting here.

The session was written in the local newspaper so all my soul is bared for all to see. Ugh!!! Sometimes I get myself into the darnedest things thinking "what fun", than I realize, as my Mom said... you're showing all the world your dirty laundry!!!

Live and learn. I did learn alot thanks to this organizing pro. Check out Julie Bavington.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Coffee Filters, Flowers & Cleaning

(pretty paper flower made from coffee filters)

What do flower pots, cleaning towels, crafts and cleaning windows have in common?
These and more are things you can use paper coffee filters for; coffee filters are bought very cheap and can be used for a lot of different things. Not sure if this goes along with being "green", so use if only for ease and usefulness!

Serving snacks (popcorn, chips, goldfish crackers, etc) the filters are disposable and less expensive than paper bowls or plates.

From BusyBusyMom: Prevent soil from draining out of flowerpots. When repotting, place a filter at the bottom, over the drainage hole (works great as we don't have any rocks or pebbles which are traditionally used), then add the soil (wonder if you can use the used coffee filters - will the coffee grounds hurt the plants?).
Protect hands from Popsicle drippage. Slide the wooden stick of an ice pop through a coffee filter so your hands stay mess-free.

From The Family Corner: Be crafty with the paper filters and make beautiful flowers (see picture). Martha Stewart even has coffee filter roses (looks too complicated for me!!). Or check out this school activity for making clothespin butterflies or paper flowers.

Clean windows and glass. Coffee filters leave no lint or other residue.
Put some baking soda in the center and tie up to a pouch; use in drawers or refrigerator to eliminate odors.
More ideas from Mary Jane Farm: Use as a strainer when making tea or juices.

From eHOW: Decant wine through a coffee filter. Filter the wine into a decanter to sift out any bits of cork that may be loose it in.
Cover food cooking in the microwave. Invert a coffee filter over small bowls or plates to prevent splatters.
Store cast iron skillets with a coffee filter tucked inside. Prevent surface rust with the highly absorbent filter paper pulling moisture from the air.

That was fun researching, my motive is that I have some filters leftover from our old coffee maker. We now have one that grinds the beans and uses a permanent "basket" that has a wire mesh. While searching I found lots of cute paper crafts that will be fun with little girls!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

3 Word Sunday

Be, Don, Ford & Aly...

Or more commonly referred to as: The Older Than Dirt Couple(s), that just happen to be adopting when most folks their age are planning a "kids free" retirement. Who's to say you can't do kids and retire as long as you're "young at heart"...

ac & fm

Ultimate Blog Party!!

5 Minutes for Mom is a great blog. Check out this event!

Ultimate Blog Party 2008
Here's the latest contests list. Some are really cool so if you are into winning free stuff, it takes a few minutes to enter each one.

Join in the Ultimate Blog Party. Lots of prizes and fun! Here's the instructions.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Protecting The Baby Gator

We've been needing a car seat. Actually, we plan to get two, one for each of our vehicles to avoid the hassle of swapping one back and forth. So, until we bite the bullet and do just that, here is our first! It's the Britax Roundabout. We have our eye on the Marathon for the longer trips but the Roundabout should do fine for everyday jaunts. It seems we were not alone in shopping for a car seat, Cindy over at Yearning For A Child appears to have found just what she was looking for as well :)

And yes, that's a Gator logo you see. Alyzabeth doesn't stand a chance. Her parents may regale her with whimsical tales of Maine and Missouri but in the end, she's destined to bleed the blue and orange of Florida.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's Your LID Month And It Changes You

The first visual clue that things have changed is noticing your LID month heads the list on those that track such things. It freezes you. You stare at the letters, J A N U A R Y and a flood of emotions slowly build and then crash in on you like waves at the beach. Big waves. Overpowering waves. It's your LID month and it changes you.

You have these intense flashbacks. Not a 60's flashback. These flashbacks spill out of your emotional basket brimming with unrealized hopes and dreams purposefully dampened as you Waited. Waiting for a daughter now jumping up at you like a crocus through the crunch of a late winter snow. Bright, cheerful and giving hope for the coming Spring. It's your LID month and it changes you.

You begin evaluating what you have left to do. The hint of urgency is allowed to creep in. A haste to put things in order emerges. A daughter's bedroom door too long closed, is opened. The Wait that has dulled your excitement and energy begins to wane. You begin daring to Imagine again. It's your LID month and it changes you.

You reflect on those whose journey you followed to China and back. The referral pictures. Their emotions laid bare upon entering their hotel room and seeing a crib. Forever Day tears of joy. Red Couch photos. The eagerness to return home. The sadness of saying goodbye to Forever Families that shared so much. It's your LID month and it changes you.

Imagine Alyzabeth An: It's easy if you try... And the tears begin to flow. It's our LID month and it changes you...


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

When Does A Referral Count Down Begin?

Referrals made it to January 4, 2006. I feel bad for the 5th and 6th folks, they were strung along with the hope of being in this group. At least they can draw some solace from knowing they will be in next month's Referrals. That's a good thing.

You might notice the red outline on the 27th. Our LID date. I guess this means we have officially begun our count down to Referral Day. Though in our hearts, that count down began years ago...

Huge CONGRATULATIONS to all those with Referrals and soon to be celebrating their much anticipated Forever Day!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Referral Stress Reliever

The referral roller coaster ride this month is one of the better ones. We try not to think about it too much but really, who's kidding who? It does matter and not just for us... We can't even begin to imagine the stomach churning going on for our January 4th, 5th and now 6th friends. Our best wishes and prayers are with you all. Maybe you can try a little comfort food while you Wait for the news...

Saturday we had BBQ Pork Ribs prepared oven style. I love them best prepared on the grill, the taste and texture is to die for. However, for super tender, fall off the bone ribs, the oven method works wonders. And it's easy. You could of course, fix these in the oven and then finish them off on the grill or you can simply relax with a glass of wine and let the oven do all the work. As I remember, we relaxed with a glass of wine :)


Poppy’s Pork Ribs


4 Lbs Pork Ribs

Poppy’s Pork Rub

Poppy’s Red BBQ Sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
  2. Remove membrane from bony side of ribs
  3. Apply rub to both sides of ribs
  4. Using baking sheet, lay ribs on two layers of foil, shiny side up and meaty side down
  5. Cover ribs with two layers of foil, shiny side up
  6. Bake for 2 ½ hours or until meat starts to shrink away from the bone
  7. Remove from oven
  8. Heat broiler
  9. Remove foil cover, arrange ribs bony side up
  10. Brush on Poppy’s BBQ Sauce
  11. Broil for 1 or 2 minutes until sauce is bubbly
  12. Turn ribs over
  13. Brush on Poppy’s BBQ Sauce
  14. Broil for 1 or 2 minutes until sauce is bubbly

Poppy’s Red BBQ Sauce

1 Cup apple cider vinegar

1 Cup ketchup

3 Tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

1 Tablespoon yellow mustard

1 Tablespoon molasses

1 Teaspoon sea salt

½ Teaspoon red pepper flakes

Best when mixed together and allowed to stand overnight. *If you do not like vinegar based BBQ sauce, you are not going to like this. On the other hand, if you do - then give this a try! I have a hotter version if you want it...

Poppy’s Pork Rub

¼ Cup brown sugar

¼ Cup paprika

2 Tablespoons black pepper

2 Tablespoons sea salt

1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper

2 Teaspoons dry mustard

May be dry stored 1-2 months in sealed container.

(Poppy is what my granddaughters call me)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

3 Word Sunday

Thus, our 3 word Sunday offering.

I continue to enjoy & take guitar lessons weekly. I am dissuaded from saying I have been practicing, when asked by my guitar mentor how things are going. "I am playing regularly" is the proper response. Aly may have a differing opinion as to what constitutes my playing as opposed to strange noises. However, when she does exclaim, "I know that song", a colossal upsurge of pride swells from within me. She is so good about stroking the male ego. Thank you Aly. I so need it. And you...


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Weekend Referral Agony Is It The 4th, 5th or 6th?

It's that time. You know the drill. Wait. Worry. Dream. Imagine. Wait Some More. Worry Even More. Repeat...

Yes, it's referral time and the question seems to be: Is it January 4th or January 5th? And any hope of having that answered before this weekend slipped away late yesterday. It is going to be a loooong weekend for those anxiously waiting to know if their LID made it. It is truly an agonizing time coupled with unimaginable anticipation and joy.

Our best wishes and prayers are with you all...